Comments: General Synod - Wednesday night press reports

Thanks yes - sorry the link got left off. Episcopal Café. Fixed now.

Posted by Ann at Wednesday, 8 February 2012 at 10:41pm GMT

I remain baffled by the ABC's speech and by the decision taken today by General Synod. The archbishop argues for maintaining "ecclesial integrity" for those who cannot accept women priests or bishops.

I understand "ecclesial integrity" to mean the unity and coherence of the CofE, or other Anglican Churches. I can see how differences of opinion on how to apply scripture, tradition, and reason to the issues of the day can and should be accomodated by a Church that values inclusiveness. The history of the Church and its sacred tradition show that the Church has revised moral teachings many times over its history. The inability to do this is is what I see as the error being made by the ACNA, and the Churches threatening to depart from the Anglican Communion over these differences.

What makes no sense to me at all is to accomodate differences that go to the heart of Communion within the Church. I mean coming together to the Table of the Lord, as one Church, to share his Real Presence among us. We can we and do differ as what this Real Presence may mean, but we all affirm a real and effective Presence in our sharing of Holy Communion. This is what makes Communion in the Church, not our thoughts about some theological explanation, which always have to be tentative, anyway.

The difference held by some CofE Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals does go direclty to the heart of Communion. They are unable to accept the sacramental ministry of a female priest, and they do not regard her as a "real" priest. The cannot accept any real oversight from a female bishop, even non-sacramental oversight, it seems. They would not regard a female bishop as a "real" bishop. So they cannot accept Holy Communion from a female priest or bishop. They cannot accept conscrations performed by a female bishop. They cannot accept oversight or sacramental functions from a male priest ordained by a female or a male bishop who has participated in the ordination or consecration of females.

I do not see any "ecclesial integrity" here to protect. It seems to me that the Synod has to protect the CofE from archbishops who have been advocating measures that would institutionalize schism within the CofE.This "further tinkering" leaves me queasy. What kind of language would paper over this deep disunity at the heart of the Communion of the CofE?"

Posted by karen macqueen+ at Wednesday, 8 February 2012 at 11:52pm GMT

Does the question of women's ordination really "go to the heart of Communion within the Church"? I certainly would like to see women bishops in the C of E as soon as possible, and I think the theological arguments against women's ministry are shaky at best. But I don't think for a moment that this is a matter of absolutely first-rate importance when it comes to the unity of the Church. Those who oppose women's ordination are far less of a threat to "ecclesial integrity," I think, than supporters of pernicious innovations like lay presidency.

Perhaps this is just English pragmatism, but I'm perfectly happy to remain in Communion with those who refuse to acknowledge that women can be priests, and I ardently hope the Church of England will make reasonable concessions to them to allow them in good conscience to remain.

Posted by rjb at Thursday, 9 February 2012 at 4:01am GMT

With Karen macqueen+, I see the conflict between pro and anti-factions in the Church of England as a puzzling paradigm for unification. And yet, here we have anti-women Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics unified on this most destructive of causes - the rejection of the equal place of women in Church leadership.

If this dismissal of the place of women in the Church is a foundation for notional Unity, then what chance does the Church have of pointing to the need for justice in the wider world?

How can anti-women protesters pretend their call for koinonia, when they refuse to join the rest of us at the Table of the Lord when the presider happens to be a representative of half of the church - a woman? What sort of collegiality is that? And how can one share the unifying Body of Christ in those circumstances? Jesu, mercy!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 9 February 2012 at 8:56am GMT

Overall, perhaps not too bad an outcome from the deliberations of General Synod. However, the stolid determination of the archbishops to side-line the authority of a woman bishop seems uncharitable.

Whatever threats are being made by the small conservative bloc that might leave the Church if Women Bishops have equal jurisdiction to Male Bishops; that would be small beer compared to the number of women who would feel unwelcome at the further extension of the patriarchal culture of the Church of England.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 9 February 2012 at 9:31am GMT

I'm with rjb, except, of course, that pragmatism doesn't have to be English.

Posted by john at Thursday, 9 February 2012 at 10:28am GMT

No one is "small beer" in the eyes of God.

Posted by David Swyer at Thursday, 9 February 2012 at 4:02pm GMT

R Butt's column:

A spokesman for the traditionalist group Forward in Faith told the Guardian: "It's up to the bishops now. They can sort this out, but do they have the balls to?"

There we have it. The Signifying Testicles.

Posted by JCF at Thursday, 9 February 2012 at 6:41pm GMT

David Swyer,

That's a good comment. From a very 'liberal' perspective, I entirely agree.

Posted by john at Thursday, 9 February 2012 at 7:41pm GMT

"No one is "small beer" in the eyes of God."

Stop being so hysterical - the numbers are small beer, not the people. Good Lord! You really all do think you're the only important ones in God's Eyes, despite the pathetic appeal to Sunday-school platitudes, don't you?

There's an old Southern expression - get off the cross, please . . . we need the wood for building.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Friday, 10 February 2012 at 5:01am GMT

My small beer comment applies to everyone. Although a "traditionalist" I am just as appalled at rude and demeaning remarks from my own "side". I am sorry if I have wound some people up.

Posted by David at Saturday, 11 February 2012 at 1:09am GMT

"My small beer comment applies to everyone"

. . and is still inaccurate in relation to what you are quoting.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Tuesday, 14 February 2012 at 4:45am GMT
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